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Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
by allergies
Since self is illusion, and all things are result of cause and effect, such that there is no inherent is-ness or self to anything. The illusory self is just a process of chemical and electrical signals interacting with stimuli, the illusory self is an emergent phenomenon and once the chemical and electrical signals stop, the self or the illusion that is called self also stops. This process happens in all humans, from the crackhead in the gutter to the Buddha.
In buddhist lingo, this would equate to the five skandhas ceasing. This happens naturally and without effort, it is the inevitability of all things.

Buddhism does take this further though by positing that there is rebirth, and that when the body stops functioning there is something which transmigrates. Not necessarily a soul, but something, otherwise everyone would reach final nibbana at the moment the body stops functioning. However rebirth takes a leap of faith to believe in, as there is no evidence of such a thing existing or happening at the moment the body stops functioning. There are some interpretations which equate rebirth not in a one body to the next, but a psychological process which occurs all the time, but this seems to be nothing more than a secular interpretation to come to terms with something the Buddha talked about which goes against modern materialism.

But, for arguments sake, if this is a real phenomenon, for it to matter there must be a continuation of experience from one birth to the next. For if there is no continuity, and one illusory self dissolves and another arises from a new body, the former illusory self will have no experience of the latter illusory self and thus practically achieved final nibbana. There is no self, no being, nothing inherent exists, why all the effort to achieve something which already is. If the suffering of the illusory self of this body ends when the body stops functioning, than there are only two explanations. One is that there is a transmigration or continuity of experience, which takes a leap of faith to believe. Or the second which is there is nothing attained in this life beyond relaxation techniques or intellectual curiosities contemplated by following the teachings of buddhism. Such that the crackhead in the gutter, and the ardent practitioner living in perfect accordance to buddhist teachings end up the same, as nothing, because they never were. The illusion stops when the body stops functioning.

Hopefully that made some sense, have a good day.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:10 am
by binocular
What question exactly would you like to ask?

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:06 pm
by DooDoot
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
Since self is illusion, and all things are result of cause and effect, such that there is no inherent is-ness or self to anything.
The self is an illusion to the enlightened but not to the unenlighted. Suffering exists in the world and suffering exists when the self is taken to be real. Taking the self to be real is called 'sakkaya ditthi'.
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
The illusory self is just a process of chemical and electrical signals interacting with stimuli, the illusory self is an emergent phenomenon and once the chemical and electrical signals stop, the self or the illusion that is called self also stops.
No. The illusory self is born of ignorance, craving, attachment, thinking, etc, rather than of chemical & electrical signals. For example, the physical body of a Buddha has chemicals and neurological electrical signals but the mind of a Buddha has no self-illusion. If the self illusion was born of chemicals & electricity then a tin of paint or a battery would have the illusion of self.
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
This process happens in all humans, from the crackhead in the gutter to the Buddha.
No.
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
In buddhist lingo, this would equate to the five skandhas ceasing. This happens naturally and without effort, it is the inevitability of all things.
Nibbana is not the five aggregates ceasing. Nibbana is the destruction of craving.
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
Buddhism does take this further though by positing that there is rebirth, and that when the body stops functioning there is something which transmigrates.
The above appears literally found in some teachings but not all. What 'rebirth' really is is subject to debate.
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
Not necessarily a soul, but something, otherwise everyone would reach final nibbana at the moment the body stops functioning.
I doesn't matter what you call it, be it a "soul" or something else.
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
However rebirth takes a leap of faith to believe in, as there is no evidence of such a thing existing or happening at the moment the body stops functioning.
What 'rebirth' really is is subject to debate.
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
There are some interpretations which equate rebirth not in a one body to the next, but a psychological process which occurs all the time, but this seems to be nothing more than a secular interpretation to come to terms with something the Buddha talked about which goes against modern materialism.
The above statement is unfactual.
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
But, for arguments sake, if this is a real phenomenon, for it to matter there must be a continuation of experience from one birth to the next. For if there is no continuity, and one illusory self dissolves and another arises from a new body, the former illusory self will have no experience of the latter illusory self and thus practically achieved final nibbana.
The Buddha taught "beings" are heirs to their actions. The Buddha did not teach an "illusory self is reincarnated".
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
There is no self, no being, nothing inherent exists, why all the effort to achieve something which already is.
But there is a "self" and there is a "being". If there was no "self", people would not suffer. When there is suffering, this is due to the belief or view of a "self".
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
If the suffering of the illusory self of this body ends when the body stops functioning, than there are only two explanations. One is that there is a transmigration or continuity of experience, which takes a leap of faith to believe. Or the second which is there is nothing attained in this life beyond relaxation techniques or intellectual curiosities contemplated by following the teachings of buddhism. Such that the crackhead in the gutter, and the ardent practitioner living in perfect accordance to buddhist teachings end up the same, as nothing, because they never were. The illusion stops when the body stops functioning.
Buddhism teaches about here-&-now Nibbana. What you call "relaxation" is the purpose of Buddhism. The Nibbana Relaxed Buddhist has no suffering. The crackhead has lots of suffering. Buddhism is for ending suffering, in the here-&-now. That is what Buddhism offers.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:24 pm
by ToVincent
allergies wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:31 am
Since self is illusion, and all things are result of cause and effect, such that there is no inherent is-ness or self to anything. The illusory self is just a process of chemical and electrical signals interacting with stimuli, the illusory self is an emergent phenomenon and once the chemical and electrical signals stop, the self or the illusion that is called self also stops.
In the 21st century, things are not just concerned with electricity and chemicals, but with a shitload of other things like biology, etc - and particularly with information.

The 21st century is concerned with information. The science of information (informatique), and the philosophy of information (communication).
Information is immaterial and has no energy - but it needs matter (rūpa, saḷāyatana) and energy (indriya) to be communicated.

As usual, there are two schools. The materialistic view, and the non- materialistic view.
Without getting into details, the question that will remain is: Is randomness (accident) a purely materialistic course of action?

________

Now, as far as things exist ("Vedic" eternalism) or don't exist ("Vedic" annihilationism), Buddha expounded his theory of the middle way: they exist (arise) and don't exist (fade away).

Furthermore:
People read SN 22. 95, and assert and proclaim that things don't exist.
Buddha never said that. Late Buddhism did.

There is no essence (sāro) in khandhas and their ensuing "existence" in satta.
Continuum (santāno) of self, is what is the illusion.
See SN 22.95
That is what Buddha said.
(People should read that sutta in Pali, up to the end).

Buddha said that there is no sāro & santāno in things - He never said that there was not an "existence" of things.
He said that these things "exist" - then fade away.

The internal fields of sensory experience (ajjhatikā ayatanā), are empty, and filled with khandhas ( when they come to "exist" in the (sensory) world ) - and they are empty of self, because of the inherent "not one's owness" (the first meaning of annicca), and therefore impermanence (the second meaning of anicca) of the khandhas - (as a self was supposed at the time of Buddha, to be permanent, continuous (santāno) & blissful).
See SN 35.238
So one should first, be aware of the Upanishadic philosophy of the time; then of what the establishment and the establishing of consciousness in the khandhas of Nāmarūpa nidāna is all about - so as to understand what "not yours" mean. Khandhas that are served to satta as dhammas & dhatus, through the saḷāyatana nidāna.

Internal fields of sensory experience (ajjhatikā ayatanā), internal fields of sensory experience's consciousness, internal fields of sensory experience's contact, and feeling (vedana) are empty of self and of what belongs to self.
SN35.85

This is what the Buddha taught to the early śrāvaka.
The existence and fading away of things that are empty of self, and of what belongs to self.
Khandhas and even the internal ayatanani are "not yours" (SN 22.33 - SN 35.138).
You are just "made to be felt" (SN 12.37) - And that is a real experience - full of matter, energy and..... information.

_______

Plastic pollutes the planet - Information pollutes the Universe.
We must face it - we are chronic polluters.
.
.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:53 pm
by seeker242
Or the second which is there is nothing attained in this life beyond relaxation techniques or intellectual curiosities contemplated by following the teachings of buddhism.
People often fail to recognize that this also requires that the Buddha himself was just plain ignorant, or just lying. I don't know about others, but I find it a heck of a lot easier to believe in rebirth, than it is to believe the Buddha himself was just an ignorant fool or liar.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:04 pm
by Sam Vara
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:53 pm
Or the second which is there is nothing attained in this life beyond relaxation techniques or intellectual curiosities contemplated by following the teachings of buddhism.
People often fail to recognize that this also requires that the Buddha himself was just plain ignorant, or just lying. I don't know about others, but I find it a heck of a lot easier to believe in rebirth, than it is to believe the Buddha himself was just an ignorant fool or liar.
Good point, seeker242. It reminds me of the "trilemma" of the Christian apologist C. S. Lewis:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing thaIt people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:09 pm
by Dan74
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:04 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:53 pm
Or the second which is there is nothing attained in this life beyond relaxation techniques or intellectual curiosities contemplated by following the teachings of buddhism.
People often fail to recognize that this also requires that the Buddha himself was just plain ignorant, or just lying. I don't know about others, but I find it a heck of a lot easier to believe in rebirth, than it is to believe the Buddha himself was just an ignorant fool or liar.
Good point, seeker242. It reminds me of the "trilemma" of the Christian apologist C. S. Lewis:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing thaIt people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.
But of course we don't know what the Buddha or Jesus actually said, so C.S. Lewis's logic does not apply.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:18 pm
by Sam Vara
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:09 pm

But of course we don't know what the Buddha or Jesus actually said, so C.S. Lewis's logic does not apply.
True enough, in that if we don't trust any of the premises, then inferences based upon them are hardly binding. That's why I think the question of authorship is an important one.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:29 pm
by Dan74
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:18 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:09 pm

But of course we don't know what the Buddha or Jesus actually said, so C.S. Lewis's logic does not apply.
True enough, in that if we don't trust any of the premises, then inferences based upon them are hardly binding. That's why I think the question of authorship is an important one.
How is it important if it can never be conclusively proven? It becomes simply a matter of faith - C.S. Lewis will believe that the NT faithfully records the words of Jesus and you believe that the Pali Canon does that for the Buddha. This is of course fine, but what is not fine, IMO, is to then build a logical argument on a foundation of faith and pretend that it is a proof. Perhaps we all pick and choose logic and scholarship to suit our faith in order to minimise cognitive dissonance or doubt, but let's not call it important. Practice and the fruits of practice are important. What we believe is only important insofar as it supports that, a raft, so wind in the sails, something to use, not to hold on to.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:41 pm
by Sam Vara
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:29 pm
How is it important if it can never be conclusively proven? It becomes simply a matter of faith - C.S. Lewis will believe that the NT faithfully records the words of Jesus and you believe that the Pali Canon does that for the Buddha. This is of course fine, but what is not fine, IMO, is to then build a logical argument on a foundation of faith and pretend that it is a proof. Perhaps we all pick and choose logic and scholarship to suit our faith in order to minimise cognitive dissonance or doubt, but let's not call it important. Practice and the fruits of practice are important. What we believe is only important insofar as it supports that.
Yes, practice and fruits thereof are important, but I don't think they are the sole foundation for inference. Things might not ever be conclusively proven, but we might consider them sufficiently certain to base an argument on. What is the criterion for conclusive proof of any historical "fact"?

I'm impressed by Gombrich's argument that the degree of originality and detailed coherence make it impossible that the majority of the Buddha's key teachings were anything other than the product of one extraordinary mind.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:08 pm
by Bhikkhu Pesala
Confidence based on knowledge and logical inference is totally different to blind faith.

See Sāriputta’s Lion’s Roar

The Venerable Sāriputta was the wisest of the Buddha’s disciples.

An Excellent Man is Not Credulous

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:05 pm
by Dan74
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:41 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:29 pm
How is it important if it can never be conclusively proven? It becomes simply a matter of faith - C.S. Lewis will believe that the NT faithfully records the words of Jesus and you believe that the Pali Canon does that for the Buddha. This is of course fine, but what is not fine, IMO, is to then build a logical argument on a foundation of faith and pretend that it is a proof. Perhaps we all pick and choose logic and scholarship to suit our faith in order to minimise cognitive dissonance or doubt, but let's not call it important. Practice and the fruits of practice are important. What we believe is only important insofar as it supports that.
Yes, practice and fruits thereof are important, but I don't think they are the sole foundation for inference. Things might not ever be conclusively proven, but we might consider them sufficiently certain to base an argument on. What is the criterion for conclusive proof of any historical "fact"?

I'm impressed by Gombrich's argument that the degree of originality and detailed coherence make it impossible that the majority of the Buddha's key teachings were anything other than the product of one extraordinary mind.
It's interesting that you bring history into it. Historical facts usually have multiple sources of corroborating evidence, otherwise they are not facts, but theories. Prof Gombrich's or other scholars' literary analysis is no proof of authorship by the Sakyan prince Siddhartha. In fact we hardly have any real evidence that the Buddha ever existed. If you ask a historian, I think they will tell you that shared belief is very poor source of evidence and stylistic and literary analysis may provide rough evidence of the date and common source of the literary piece, not the actual authorship, nor is it always possible to tease apart what are insertions, corruptions and what is 'original'.

The Dhamma, as I see it, is about a practice, a yoga, that leads to liberation. Should we choose to base our faith primarily in the purported fact of its authorship by one who was completely awakened, similarly to the divine authorship of the Bible, with no corroborating evidence except the brilliance of the scriptures? Or should we take the brilliant scriptures as the guide, just like mathematicians used Euclid's Elements, unperturbed by the uncertainty of Euclid ever existing? Or somewhere in between?

My take, FWIT, is that the Buddha, as the potential for awakening is alive in us right now. It seems to me to be more likely than not that the historical Buddha existed, but fundamentally it is about the mind here-and-now. A belief, an opinion, no matter how erudite or cleverly constructed is not where it's at. When I bow to the Buddha, I bow to our shared potential to awaken and in gratitude for the guidance given to us in the Dhamma through the Sangha across the centuries. The Sakyan prince and his story are powerful and they live on through the way we live, through the way we practice. That's the true homage to Shakyamuni, not our arguments, beliefs and opinions.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:49 pm
by Sam Vara
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:05 pm

It's interesting that you bring history into it. Historical facts usually have multiple sources of corroborating evidence, otherwise they are not facts, but theories. Prof Gombrich's or other scholars' literary analysis is no proof of authorship by the Sakyan prince Siddhartha. In fact we hardly have any real evidence that the Buddha ever existed. If you ask a historian, I think they will tell you that shared belief is very poor source of evidence and stylistic and literary analysis may provide rough evidence of the date and common source of the literary piece, not the actual authorship, nor is it always possible to tease apart what are insertions, corruptions and what is 'original'.
I'll be brief because this (the first bit, anyway) has the potential to derail the topic, and if interested you might want to start a new thread.

Gombrich's point is not that the authorship is attributable to the Sakyan prince Siddhattha (even the name is extra canonical) but that it is the work of one man.The former requires two valid inferences, the latter only one.
The Dhamma, as I see it, is about a practice, a yoga, that leads to liberation. Should we choose to base our faith primarily in the purported fact of its authorship by one who was completely awakened, similarly to the divine authorship of the Bible, with no corroborating evidence except the brilliance of the scriptures? Or should we take the brilliant scriptures as the guide, just like mathematicians used Euclid's Elements, unperturbed by the uncertainty of Euclid ever existing? Or somewhere in between?


I would personally favour somewhere in between. The factual historicity of the Buddha would be an absolute guarantor of the possibility of human liberation, as opposed to mere wishful thinking. If I don't have faith that it's been done, then I can't have faith that it can be done. I'm neither that clever nor optimistic.
My take, FWIT, is that the Buddha, as the potential for awakening is alive in us right now. It seems to me to be more likely than not that the historical Buddha existed, but fundamentally it is about the mind here-and-now. A belief, an opinion, no matter how erudite or cleverly constructed is not where it's at. When I bow to the Buddha, I bow to our shared potential to awaken and in gratitude for the guidance given to us in the Dhamma through the Sangha across the centuries. The Sakyan prince and his story are powerful and they live on through the way we live, through the way we practice. That's the true homage to Shakyamuni, not our arguments, beliefs and opinions.
That's fine, and I wish you success with it.

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:32 pm
by cappuccino
allergies wrote: Since self is illusion
the teaching isn't "no-self"

the teaching isn't "self" either


On Self, No Self, and Not-self

Re: Buddhism and What it Offers

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:35 pm
by cappuccino
"Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.